Dog owners who repeatedly fail to clean up after their pets have fouled could be banned from Yorkshire Water owned beauty spots.
Yorkshire Water marshals are stepping up patrols at dog fouling hot-spots and are to directly challenge people seen to fail to clear up after their dogs.
An enforcement policy is in place and repeat offenders could be banned from the area, issued with a formal caution or prosecuted.
The get-tough approach has been launched after Yorkshire Water chiefs said the organisation faces an annual £15,000 bill to clean up dog mess, despite paying for dog bins and employing marshals at many of its 120 recreational sites.
The company says the problem reached new heights this week following a routine inspection of a 300 metre stretch of footpath at the company’s reservoir site at East Ardsley near Leeds.
The inspection revealed 342 separate piles of dog mess – more than one every metre.
And dog walkers who hang bags filled with dog mess from tree branches, rather than use dog bins, have also come under fire.
Geoff Lomas, recreation manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “It beggars belief that people either don’t clean up after their dogs, or that they take the time to pick up the mess and then just chuck the bag on the floor or hang it in a tree.
“This year we expect to spend approximately £15,000 on cleaning up dog mess – and that doesn’t include the signs we put up, the effort we put into working with councils or the time taken to deal with customers complaining about the mess at our sites.
“Some commercial dog walkers use our land on a regular basis – helping them to make money – and then leave us to pick up the bill for cleaning up. It’s not on.
“We’ve spent millions of pounds opening up our reservoir sites for the public to enjoy, so it’s very sad that despite our best efforts, we’re getting reports that on occasions people are having to spend more time watching where they’re walking than actually enjoying the of breathtaking scenery.
“Our message to everyone is simple: please do the right thing and clean up properly after your dog, and encourage others to always do the same.”